A Dominican Retrospective: Part 8 of 10

The town of my grandfathers birth, and incidentally that of my mother as well, Cotu铆 is a strange and yet beautiful place. With its dirt roads, single main intersection, and complete lack of entertainment venues it is a place of utter boredom. But then again what is boredom when children have an endless canvas of concrete and wooden houses to express their chalky creations, where on any given night of the week there is drunken merriment in the town square, and where the idea of family is stronger than anything else in the world?

From what I understand this place is what Bonao (where my mother and brothers grew up, and technically where I lived as a child as well) was like back in the 1940's. Bonao which is now a small city (with taller buildings, a massive population boom, and many more operating businesses) is a place I think of fondly in my memories yet my experience this time around won't be as cherished.* Bonao is now a place where gangs reign, prices are extortionate, and people take advantage of one another. I wish Bonao had never changed but change is inevitable, especially when the city lies in the smack centre of the country with every major road leading into and out of it. Walking around in my home town I was constantly in threat whereas walking around in Cotu铆 (where I stuck out like a sore thumb) I never felt malicious eyes. 

It is not to say that Cotu铆 is perfect. Though life there is much calmer and simpler it is also a terrible place to live as a teen. With nothing better to do they find themselves wasting time drinking or having sex behind their parents back. The few teens I spoke to had no idea of what life was like outside of their town, outside of their country, and with few employment prospects they also had no intention of completing their education. A sort of dead end town for anyone between 13 and 19.

A good percentage of the adult population work in the mines that surround the town (gold, silver & nickel) though I should specify that the men work in the mines, the women stay at home or work as household help. It was interesting to see this town, which has hardly been touched by time and being able to see the good and the bad of traditional vs modern views of how things should be.

Needless to say Cotu铆 was a learning experience and completely served its purpose for my visit. I got to meet the surviving children of my grandfathers secret family, got to see the land where he himself was born and raised (the house has since been destroyed) and found myself making some sort of peace with myself. I say some sort of peace for if I was 100% at peace I would be dead.

It is also the home to the largest man made lake in the Caribbean:
Presa de Hatillo
*My time in Bonao, and indeed the whole of the Dominican Republic will be memorable until the day I die, my impression of the physical town of Bonao is not has good as it was when I was a child. I find that the negative changes greatly outnumber the good.
A Dominican Retrospective: Part 8 of 10 A Dominican Retrospective: Part 8 of 10 Reviewed by Christ贸pher Abreu Rosario on 05:00 Rating: 5

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